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Home ยป Ford’s Pivot to Tesla’s NACS: When ‘Arrogance’ Meets Pragmatism

Ford’s Pivot to Tesla’s NACS: When ‘Arrogance’ Meets Pragmatism

Ford's Pivot to Tesla's NACS: When 'Arrogance' Meets Pragmatism

By Ford CEO Jim Farley’s own admission, the automaker’s early electric vehicle charging solution was woefully “not competitive with Tesla.” Its proprietary ports and networks trailed miles behind Tesla’s increasingly ubiquitous Supercharger ecosystem based on its NACS connector standard.

For a legacy brand trying to lead the electric revolution, that arrogant insistence on going its own way wasn’t going to cut it. Tesla throws open its Supercharger network to Ford EVs in a historic move, Ford needed to go to the head of the class – and that meant an unconventional ask of its biggest EV rival.

Tesla throws open its Supercharger network to Ford EVs in a historic move

As Jim revealed in a rare one-on-one interview, Ford reached the sobering realization that pivoting to Tesla’s standard was the only way forward for its EV ambitions. Jim knew what that meant – taking the unprecedented step of personally reaching out to Elon Musk for access to NACS.

“We could continue to be arrogant, or we could call them and say we really want to do this,” admitted Farley of the choice facing Ford. “I then personally reached out to Elon Musk.”

Incredibly, Jim Farley says that Tesla was initially disinclined to share its proprietary charging tech. But through persistent diplomacy and putting the mission of accelerating EV adoption first, he convinced the iconoclastic electric giants to play ball.

Tom Moloughney of InsideEVs rightly praises Farley’s “strong work on making Ford pave a path for the future” by taking this counterintuitive leap. Because from that initial outreach blossomed the entire NACS alliance of automakers rallying around Tesla’s connector as the industry standard.

For all of Tesla’s boundary-pushing innovation, the pivotal breakthrough came from an old guard deciding to ditch arrogance and go all-in on collaboration. Jim Farley’s pragmatic gambit didn’t just pay off for Ford – it turbocharged the entire industry’s EV transition by ending the senseless charging Balkanization.

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